Over the past seventy years, the comic character Lucky Luke has been one of Europe’s best-loved cartoon creations. But despite being translated into over twenty languages, the heroic cowboy has yet to make a real breakthrough as a global comic book crossover in the 21st century.
So where does Lucky Luke stand in the era of fan fiction, cosplay and video slots? Here are a few hints at how ‘the man who shoots faster than his shadow’ could make a big impact over the next few years.
2016 has already been a momentous year for Lucky Luke as it marked the seventieth anniversary of when he made his first appearance in the French-Belgian comic magazine Spirou. Few would have realized the enduring appeal of the cowboy character who takes it upon himself to fight villainy across the Wild West with the help of his hyper-smart horse Jolly Jumper, and his somewhat less intelligent canine friend Rantanplan.
Although the series was created by the Belgian cartoonist Morris, it’s had the help of legendary Asterix writer René Goscinny, and recently the French illustrator Achdé has taken charge of the project and even made an appearance at Vienna Comic Con 2016 to celebrate Lucky Luke’s anniversary.
But whilst other European comic book creations have found 21st century immortality thanks to the likes of the Steven Spielberg-directed The Adventures of Tintin Hollywood blockbuster, and even an Asterix theme park, for Lucky Luke, it seems that he’s once again taken his own idiosyncratic path.
This is because whilst Asterix and Tintin have slowed down their cartoon output, Lucky Luke is showing no signs of giving up with a new title that aims to counteract the occasionally lazy racial stereotypes of the series’ past with a release that focuses on how the cowboy helps a Jewish family settle in the Wild West.
In addition to this is the fact that Lucky Luke has made some significant inroads into the gaming world with the Lucky Luke: Transcontinental Railroad mobile game giving players the chance to build a railroad across America via their iOS and Android devices.
Furthermore, the comic star has also been included among the new release slots at the Masterpiece Casinos site where gamers can attempt to emulate the fun of the 1981 comic book Lucky Luke and the One Armed Bandit, but with the possibility of real-life winnings.
And although the 2009 Lucky Luke movie may have suffered from some negative reviews, there’s enough momentum behind this acclaimed cartoon series to suggest that there will be many more years ahead of this cowboy hero yet.